The Brothers Grimsby Narrowly Avoided NC-17 Rating
Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy The Brothers Grimsby started in UK cinemas on February 24th, 2016 and in the US on March 11th, 2016. By now, all rating rumblings have been resolved but the path to getting there wasn't all that easy. After it suffered pre-cuts in the UK (we reported), the comedy also got severely in trouble at the MPAA.
The US ratings board was en route to slap the film with the infamous and financially devastating NC-17 rating because of the crude sex scene involving two elephants. As Cohen said in an interview with Collider, the board members were convinced that the scene falls into the category of bestiality. It was only after Cohen cited the official definition of that term that the members could be convinced that the scene in The Brothers Grimsby doesn't fulfill these criteria.
He also mentions that he used a trick that some others before him have used successfully (e.g. the makers of This is the End): submit a version with exaggerated content and then let the MPAA demand cuts until you can bargain with what you already cut. That way, they could get away with scenes that they originally wanted to have in more easily. In the case of The Brothers Grimsby, Cohen submitted a version where the elephant scene lasted 9 minutes. Eventually, the MPAA agreed to 3 remaining minutes, which sounds like the goal Cohen had all along.
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